At the end of last month, we posed the question: Will Politicians Still Be As Apathetic When the Apocalypse Kicks In? At the time, that query was geared towards Amy Coney Barrett's appointment to the Supreme Court and her inexcusably lethargic response to addressing the climate crisis. Now, thanks to a new study courtesy of Bloomberg, we have a clearer answer to the question.
Rather than acknowledging the climate threat (per the UN) as "the defining issue of our time," Barrett's take is that it's merely a "matter of public debate." Of course, it's not a stretch to imagine that Trump's new McJustice probably knows that the climate crisis spells impending doom for us all, but rather chooses this head-in-the-sand angle, like many politicians do, because of one significant and obvious factor — money.
We've written at length about who finances political campaigns (and why you should care) but Bloomberg's study shows how this funding ties into greenwashing, too. Better still, it puts it into quick, digestible context, and in relation to brands you'll be more than familiar with — Microsoft and Google.
For example, Microsoft, while actively and publicly stating that it will become carbon negative by 2030 and remove all the carbon emissions it has ever produced by 2050, has donated to the campaigns of political candidates who actively obstruct climate policies. The report found that the tech giant gave $20k to Republican Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who apparently made 62 anti-environment votes in 2018 and 2019 alone.
Google, meanwhile, has reportedly donated more to those that hinder progressive climate legislation, as did its parent company, Alphabet. Using analysis via League of Conservation Voters (LCV, which tracks law-makers voting records on key climate bills), it showed that Alphabet contributed more to candidates whose pro-climate action was rated under 10 percent. Or, in other words, candidates who had voted in favor of climate-related causes at most 10 percent of the time over the course of their career.
(For what it's worth — and it's worth a lot — LCV found that the vast majority of Washington lawmakers score either below 10 percent or above 90. Republicans "almost exclusively [score] low and Democrats almost exclusively [score] high. McCarthy's LCV score is three percent.)
After looking into the financial campaign choices of 106 American companies from 2018 to October this year, Bloomberg asserts that “For every dollar these corporations gave to one of the most climate-friendly members of Congress during this election cycle, they gave $1.84—nearly twice as much—to an ardent obstructionist of proactive climate policy.”
$68 million was donated in total by these companies; one-third of that went to political candidates with LCV scores under five percent, and almost half scored under 10.
Of course, this is purely scratching the surface of the relationship between government and the climate crisis, but when you look at how much money is actively involved, even from the brands who (for the most part) appear to have no obvious reason to push against it, it gives you a glimpse of just how deep this planet-fucking rabbit hole goes. And unless this changes, the answer to the apocalypse apathy question is yes.